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Archive: Unearthing the Metal Underground Columns

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Cross Vault

German extreme metal label Iron Bonehead Productions is poised to release the latest release from the dynamic, inspiring and atypical entity known as Cross Vault, a German outfit that’s been forwarding an impassioned, melancholy-fueled doom metal energy since its inception in 2013. The Teutonic doom act’s third full-length album is overflowing with seven tear-inducing tracks that are certain to make an impact upon fans of bands along the lines of Trouble and Solitude Aeturnus. “As Strangers We Depart” is chock-full of instantly evocative doom metal that’s sure to move even the most seasoned of doom-heads. The release proves itself salient because of Cross Vault’s boldness to be vulnerable and melodic in a manner that’s not far removed with what we might hear from pop rock bands. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Eradicator

Germany has been a hotbed of thrash metal for years, whether we are talking about bands like Kreator, Destruction, Coroner or Tankard. The gentleman behind Eradicator have been thrashing like maniacs since 2004, and their approach encompasses the cutthroat aggression of their native land’s thrash metal roots in addition to that reminiscent of the San Francisco Bay Area style along the lines of Exodus and Death Angel. The Teutonic thrashers now return with their fifth album, “Influence Denied,” that’s set for release on July 23, 2021, via Metalville. The 10-song album is overflowing with well-written, intricately composed tracks that are just as catchy as they are aggressive. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Armnatt

There’s something to be said for the concept of "less is more," and when that no-frills approach works in any sphere of life, the results can be impressive. Portugal’s black metal entity Armnatt adheres to that practice, and it keeps it simple for the better. The ensemble has forwarded its old guard-friendly black metal since 2013, around the time of its split cassette release with Bosnian act Tmärrdhë. Signal Rex is now poised to release Armnatt’s third full-length album, “Eternal Flame,” on May 28. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Nattverd

It goes without saying that Norway is and has been a hotbed of black metal, whether we are discussing the Norwegian black metal scene’s insane and infamous extracurricular activities, shall we say, that involved church burning, murder and suicide, or what matters most, the incredible, pioneering second wave black metal music that continues to influence extreme metal bands across the world. They may not be a well-known name along the lines of acts like Emperor or Darkthrone, but Nattverd has been vomiting blistering and melodic black metal since 2017. Considering that they formed in 2010, it’s clear that they didn’t hit the ground running in terms of recorded output. But since their debut, “Vi vet gud er en logner,” they’ve made up for lost time on that end, also having released a follow-up EP and full-length album. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Malgoth

A quick glance at the band’s history may suggest that the folks involved in Malgoth aren’t serious about their belligerent war metal. Their vocalist, one “ZS” has been a member of such bands as Chamber of Farts and The One-eyed Muskrats, however the proof is in the pudding, and Malgoth’s music speaks for itself. The Toronto, Ontario, Canada-base act has been in existence for a year, and its “Primordial Dawn” EP that was initially released independently at the end of 2020 digitally has been picked up by the stalwart, tried-and-true war metal-friendly label Iron Bonehead Productions. With “Primordial Dawn,” Malgoth showcases a savage two-vocal attack that leads the charge of the kind of war metal that has a great deal in common with raw grindcore.

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Disembodiment

The French Canadian province Quebec has long been a hotbed of metal, whether we are talking about the mesmerizing prog thrashers Voivod or the brutal technical death metal juggernaut Cryptopsy, or countless impressive bands in between. Disembodiment has emerged from the Sherbrooke and Montreal area with a distinctly nineties style of death metal that owes a great deal to the likes of Incantation. While that band has inspired countless forgettable acts obsessed with the currently popular “cavernous” death metal crew, Disembodiment succeeds because they aren’t laser-focused upon sound and style as much as they are with tapping into the spirit and essence of the old guard. What’s more, they are clearly concerned with the value of songwriting, as evidenced by their debut six-song release “Mutated Chaos.”

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Lunar Mantra

Lunar Mantra is an apropos moniker for this week’s featured Unearthing The Metal Underground band. The name itself conjures images of occult-obsessed freaks howling at the moon and uttering magical words, and the Scottish band's new release is a fitting soundtrack to accompany this mental image. Their previous recorded output has been limited thus far, having only released an EP and a single in their half decade existence. But they’ve returned with another EP—“Psychosomatika,” set for release on May 7 via Invictus Productions—that oozes and flows with a transcendental and spiritual quality that’s more likely to spur listeners to “trance out” rather than rock out. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Neorhythm

A considerable void in the realm of heavy, nineties-rooted aggressive groove metal has remained for years now, aside from a few longtime heavy hitters. Russia’s Neorhythm is rekindling that fire and pouring gasoline atop with flammable elements in the form of death metal, thrash, prog and math. One Mag performs all instruments and writes the music, while Telkw provides the vocals and lyrics. The dynamic duo tackles lofty subject matter, to say the least—uttered in English, Russian, Latin, Volapuk and Ancient Greek—involving the history of the world and the nature of mankind and civilization. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Sulphurous

Born from the heavy metal hallowed ground that gave us Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, Sulphurous also grew from the soil of Copenhagen, Denmark. The dank death metal band has been toiling away in the underground since 2008. They’ve primarily offered demo material more than anything else, aside from an EP and a well-received LP in 2018 entitled “Dolorous Death Knell.” The duo now returns with a brief but banging two-song EP by the name of “Encircling Darkness,” set for release on 7” vinyl and digitally via Me Saco Un Ojo Records. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Astral Tomb

One look at the promo pic of Astral Tomb will lead hordes of tried-and-true death metal fanatics crossing their arms, assuming the young band is a part of the trendy “cavernous” or “OSDM” flock. Judging a book by its cover isn’t always the best option. Then again, viewing the promo pic through a more optimistic lens might be an adequate entry point. The youthful appearance and aesthetic seems true to the spirit of a young Obituary back in the late eighties and early nineties. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: StarGazer

Australia has been a hotbed of extreme metal madness for decades. Whether we are talking about the classic eighties thrash of Hobbs' Angel of Death (RIP Peter Hobbs), the disgusting noise of blackened death metal pioneers Sadistik Exekution, the bar-room brawl aggression of Damaged, or—more recently—the psychotically evil death metal oppression of Eskhaton, there’s something nasty and vile brewing in the heavy metal cauldron that’s Down Under. There is also the invigorating avant-garde black/death metal band StarGazer, revered in select underground circles but virtually unheard of by many death and black metal acolytes. The act has been kicking out the evil jams for a quarter of a century at this point, and the black magical band will release its latest full-length album, “Psychic Secretions,” at the beginning of February of the new year via Nuclear War Now! Productions. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Kaligula

Indonesia has been a hotbed of death and black metal for years. The Southeast Asian country is primarily known for the rabid fanaticism of its fans significantly more than for its homegrown talent. That isn’t to say that there is a lack of quality bands, however. The death metal juggernaut Kaligula is our case-in-point. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Sacrocurse

The Mexican/Texan entity known as Sacrocurse has been hurling vile, dark metal since 2012. The unit’s leader is ZK, who began his career with Mexico’s Unholier in the early nineties, and he’s performed with the likes of Nodens, Morbosidad, Russia’s Pseudogod. But the prolific musician has been making noise more recently with Sacrocurse, an act that has a couple of full-length albums under its belt as well as a few other releases. And on January 20, 2021, the band will release the awesome EP entitled “Supreme Terror,” on multiple formats via Shadow Records/Regain Records. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Omegavortex

Something vile has been brewing in Germany. The ensemble known as Omegavortex initially formed in 2007 as Ambevilence, a project that released just a handful of songs. Omegavortex is cloaked in obscurity, referencing the majority of its members by only the pseudonym of a singular letter, including one “X”—who was presumably involved in the awesome, now defunct death metal band Beyond. The band’s mysterious nature permeates its ominous and punishing debut full-length, “Black Abomination Spawn,” which is set for release by Invictus Productions on November 13. More...

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Unearthing The Metal Underground: Hanging Fortress

A massive wave of younger hardcore bands and kids morphing into “Old School Death Metal” influenced bands has been flooding the American metal scene for a while now. Whatever their backgrounds may have been musically and in terms of influence, Toledo’s Hanging Fortress does indeed sound like a hybrid of modern, groove-based hardcore and classic death metal. The majority of such cross-bred bands sound good on paper, depending upon who you ask, yet the results are stale and forgettable more often than not. While the Ohio band in question isn’t pushing the envelope in any area, they stand out because of how catchy their testosterone-fueled death marches prove to be. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Nexul

There’s something absolutely disconcerting and ominous about the black and death metal bands from the border town of El Paso, Texas - whose sister city of Juarez, Mexico, is one of the murder capitals of the world. The hellish hymns of bands like Obeisance, Satanik Goat Ritual, Hellvetron and Nyogthaeblisz are distinct yet common in their shared, distinct sense of darkness. Members of the latter two acts also stand together in the occult-obsessed blackened death metal band Nexul that is also a part of what’s known as the Ordo Satanae Imperium collective. Conceived in 2011, the quartet hasn’t been the most prolific band out there—having released only a demo and a full-length album—but the Texans have clearly focused upon quality rather than quantity. More...

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Bloodsoaked Necrovoid

Latin American countries are home to a distinct kind of dark extreme metal. It is one that’s uniquely raw and demonic whether we are speaking about early Sepultura or Sarcofago from Brazil, Criminal from Chile, Mortem from Peru, or Shub Niggurath from Mexico. True to this wicked spirit is new blood squeezed from the soil of Costa Rica by the name of Bloodsoaked Necrovoid. Since forging together in 2018, the death/doom ensemble has been relatively prolific, having released several demos, songs on a compilation and a split. More...

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Unearthing Serpents of Secrecy

The gentlemen behind Baltimore’s doom rockers Serpents of Secrecy are set to release their highly anticipated debut release, “Ave Vindicta,” on Halloween. The effort is a tribute to the band’s late great bassist, the Reverend Jim Forrester, who was tragically murdered in 2017 outside of the tattoo shop at which he was employed. The band’s surviving members sidelined the creation of Ave Vindicta and the entire project at the time to cope with the gravity of the situation. More recently, the act—drummer Chuck Dukehart III, vocalist Mark Lorenzo, and guitarists Todd Ingram and Steve Fisher—reconvened to finalize the album which is a powerful blend of stoner swagger and dark doom heft. More...

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Unearthing the Metal Underground: WoR

In terms of new blood, there has been an extensive void in the realm of groove metal. They’re not exactly the next Pantera or Lamb of God, but North Carolina’s WoR seems to be one of the promising new acts that’s worthy of attention. Guitarist Ben Kaiser, the act’s founding member, has a background that’s far from the norm from most metal musicians. He was a collegiate football player at NC State University in North Carolina, having played alongside several current NFL players. The common thread between that element of his past and present with WoR is obvious: primal aggression. More...

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Unearthing CONTRACULT Collective

Fans of catchy industrial metal have reason to rejoice with the introduction of CONTRACULT Collective. The Los Angeles-based duo, operating under the pseudonyms Culprit and Svart, had initially come together while they were members of Brooklyn’s hardcore/sludge metal hybrid White Widows Pact. That band’s 2015 album “True Will” concluded with a hidden song that foreshadowed the divergent path that led to CONTRACULT Collective. The unit has just released its debut EP, “A Cult of Opposition,” via their own imprint, Hogwasche Music, and the release is available via Bandcamp and all major streaming services. More...

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